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UK nationals arriving on board HMS Illustrious 20/07/06
J Company 42 Commando Royal Marines
Royal Marines of J Company await the move by CH 47 from Camp Bastion to the Forward Operating Base in Gereshk
Harrier's coming in to land

The concept of the Navy, Army and Air Force operating together as a team - operating "jointly" - is not new. When Julius Caesar invaded Britain, he did so using ground and maritime forces. In this century, during times of conflict the Armed Forces have worked jointly together with enormous success - the Gulf War and the ousting of the Taleban in Afghanistan being two examples.

Joint Forces are now more important than ever because in today's world the traditional distinctions between maritime, land and air theatres of operations have become less relevant. And by operating as a single, united force, the Navy, Army and RAF can produce a bigger punch, maximising operational effectiveness and increasing the chance of success.

Maritime Contribution to Joint Operations
Manoeuvre The RN is inherently mobile and is able to act and react quickly, unpredictably, overtly and covertly.
Fire Support The RN can provide a fire support role through the use of GR7 aircraft, attack helicopters, ship and submarine launched missiles (TLAM) and shore bombardment guns.
Protection The RN is capable of protecting forces ashore from the air using GR7 aircraft. Additionally the RN can extend its protection by its ability to withdraw forces quickly if they come under serious threat.
Electromagnetic Spectrum The electronic support measures fitted on RN ships, submarines and aircraft can contribute greatly to the control of the electromagnetic spectrum and help deny the enemy the use of it.
Command and Control The RN's aircraft carriers can provide facilities for a Joint Task Force Headquarters (Afloat) providing mobility, security and a full command and control suite.
Information and Intelligence The RN has access to sophisticated high speed satellite communications allowing secure access to shore based information networks and intelligence databases.
Deployment An RN Task Group is able to move significant quantities of troops and equipment quickly and effectively.
Sustainability An RN Task Group is able to sustain forces ashore during all stages of a campaign and likewise remain self sufficient for long periods of time.

There are three main Joint Forces within the UK which the Royal Navy is involved with; Joint Rapid Reaction Forces, Joint Force Harrier and Joint Helicopter Command.

See also map of Global Operations

Multi-National Operations

The UK allocates many elements of it's Armed Forces to Multi-National Operations and Exercises (sometimes called Combined Operations). These combined operations can take many forms and range from exercises with a single nation, e.g. Saif Sareea II with Oman in October/November 2001 to multi-national operations under the auspices of NATO and the UN, e.g. supporting KFOR in 1999 and the Gulf War.

The Royal Navy provides many ships, submarines, aircraft and personnel to NATO Standing Forces and in support of UN operations around the world. More detailed information on the United Nations